Background: : The hospital-to-home transition represents a vulnerable time for older veterans who are more medically and socioeconomically challenged than the general population of older adults.
Objectives: : The aim of this study was examine the feasibility of delivering an individualized caregiver training program before hospital discharge of older veterans. As an exploratory aim, the impact of this training on caregiver self-efficacy and preparedness was determined.
Methods: : The sample consisted 50 caregiver-patient dyads. Training included medication management, identification of medical red flags, identification of Veterans Affairs community-based resources, and specific caregiver concerns about home care. Program feasibility was determined by whether caregivers could be recruited and could complete the training before patients were discharged from the hospital. Caregiver self-efficacy (using modified Lorig's self-efficacy scale) and preparedness (using Preparedness in Caregiving Scale) were assessed before the training (T1), immediately after the training (T2), and 1 week (T3) and 4 weeks (T4) after hospital discharge.
Results: : One thousand six hundred ninety inpatients were screened, 252 of whom (15%) met study eligibility criteria. Of these, 112 were approached, and 50 dyads (44.6%) agreed to participate. Of the 50 consented dyads, 40 caregivers (80%) received the training. The mean self-efficacy among caregivers improved at T2, and the improvement was sustained at T3 and T4 (T1, 783.86; T2, 903.64; T3, 867.85; T4, 877.02). The same trend was observed in caregiving preparedness (T1, 26. 95; T2, 30.55; T3, 28.88; T4, 28.91).
Discussion: : Providing an individualized training program to informal caregivers of hospitalized older veterans was not only feasible but was also associated with increased self-efficacy and caregiving preparedness. This study has the potential to assist caregivers in their home care of older veterans after hospital discharge.